Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Crysta's Five Births

I have never written a birth story of my five children. So here it goes in one big lump! I do not claim to be an expert on birthing. I am simply a woman who learned a little bit with each birth how amazing birth can be. I have always been hesitant to share my opinion on birth and share my stories. It seems like whenever I do, I lose friends or I offend someone. So I usually keep my mouth shut. Well, I then realized I would have never met my midwife, Chris Miller and experienced three awesome home births if my friend Dannika would have kept her mouth shut. Women need to know about their options so I might as well share.
My first pregnancy was awesome! I am one of those girls that have been blessed with easy pregnancies. Please don’t hate me  However; I do make up for it in gaining a good 50 lbs. each time. It is pretty cool that I have lost 250 lbs. over these past ten years. Not the fun part of pregnancy. Anyway, I knew nothing about birth or how I wanted things to go. All I knew is I wanted the best doctor and best hospital. That is what we want for our kids- the best right? I really didn’t know many options. Everyone I knew has doctors and had babies at the hospital. My aunt just had a baby so I called her and asked her who she recommended. I went with him. I met with him, I liked him ok. Never really felt like we were that connected but my pregnancy was going so well I didn’t care. I did learn about labor and delivery and I really wanted to have a natural birth. My reasoning was simple, “If women have done this since Eve, then I can do it.” When I told my doctor, he basically made me feel like, “Yea, yea, I have heard this before.” I researched and I knew I wanted things to happen on their own. My “due date” came and my doctor started to stress me out. “ Your baby is getting big, the water is running low, etc.” It took a lot of convincing for him to not start me. I really felt great and I knew deep down that I was fine. Well, he would not let me go longer than 12 days over. So 12 days came and went and he freaked me out enough to start me. Let me just say this, the term “due date” needs to go! Some babies are fully developed at 37 weeks and some take a little longer to cook. The baby will come when it is ready. With the rest of my babies it became, “The baby will come at the end of December” or whatever month not a specific day. Having this set day in your head can start to play games with you those last few weeks. Not to mention being off a little bit on any cycle days can mean that you might be starting these babies when they really are not ready to be born. So many important things are happening to your baby those last few days and also so many things need to happen to the mom’s body to get things happening. We carry these babies for 9 months really what are a few more days??
Okay second issue, “Your baby is GINORMOUS!” I love this one. My doctor was scaring me with how big my baby is getting and would it fit? Ultrasounds are not accurate. The measurements are a big estimate and so far with all five children have been way off. Also, our bodies are made to have babies. God made us to have babies ladies! All 5 of mine have been “above average” and they all came out!
Another thing that frustrated me was him checking me at every visit. When I was 36 weeks I was dilated to a 4 and 75% effaced. Wow! My doctor kept telling me how any day I was going to have this baby. Every visit he would say, “I bet the next time I see you will be in the hospital.” It left me feeling really disappointed every time I came back to my next appointment. I came to find out that these numbers for dilation and progression are so different for every women and every pregnancy. During this pregnancy things were happening for an entire month, and then with my 4th child I was a 0 when I started labor and 3 hours later had a baby!
Okay so I got started at 8 a.m. things progressed pretty steadily. I had an awesome husband that kept the nurses in line and he knew what I wanted. I had a quite a few different nurses which were annoying because I felt like we had to explain what we wanted over and over. In the end hours of labor I ended up with an awesome encouraging nurse. When I said, “I didn’t think I could do it anymore” (which is a point I get to with each labor) she told me to take it one contraction at a time and how great I was doing. She was awesome. Things were intense when the Dr. got there and he had me get up on the bed (not where I wanted to go) and I pushed my guts out. I popped vessels in my eyes and I wanted her out. She was born at 4:20 p.m. She was 7 lbs. 14 oz. (the Dr. said she was going to be way over 8 lbs.) I remember being annoyed at my doctor who came in 15 minutes before delivery and in between contractions I caught a glimpse of him looking out the window not really involved with the birth at all. It really annoyed me. He held my baby up for me to see and then handed her to the nurses to do their thing. I couldn’t get her fast enough. I did not put her down. I would not let the nurses take her. They insisted on taking her for a bath. So I said I was going with her. They were a little surprised when I hopped out of bed and followed her down the hall. I felt great! With all of my deliveries I am on a high for the first week. All kinds of good endorphins kick in. For being started, I think things went pretty good but I knew that I wanted a few things different for my next birth.
Baby #2
Baby #2 was a little bit of a surprise for us. We knew we wanted more children though so we were excited. We lived in Wisconsin and I found an awesome D.O. who was very supportive of natural childbirth. I could tell he loved what he did and I enjoyed our visits. Again, I had another great pregnancy. I carried this one about 41 weeks and went into labor at about 2 a.m. We drove to the hospital and right when I walked in, my water broke. Not just a little trickle this was full on explosion. I felt bad for the janitor. We walked up to labor and delivery, they saw the wet pants and called the doctor. He came right away and he was great. He stayed in my room for most of the labor and was very encouraging. Our son was born at 9:11 a.m. and he let me hold him right on my chest. We let the cord finish pulsing and then the nurses wanted to do their thing. They let me keep him in the room the entire time. Our son was 9 lbs. 10 oz. 21” long and healthy. . . We had a great experience, but again the endorphins kicked in and I really just wanted to go home.
Baby #3
We moved back to UT and I lived next to a great friend, Dannika Gunn. She is the reason I am sharing these stories because she shared her stories with me. She told me about her homebirths and how great they were and how awesome her midwife, Chris Miller was. I was very intrigued by all this and started researching and reading all about homebirth. It took about a year to get pregnant with our 3rd. We met Chris and right away knew that she was the perfect midwife and that this is the kind of birth we wanted. This pregnancy was a little bit harder for me. I had hurt my back about a year before getting pregnant, which contributed to having back issues with this one. I was not as active as I had been with the other two and I swear that made this pregnancy harder. Still, I really couldn’t complain, things went smoothly. The final month I had a lot of false labor and that was crazy. Thinking it was the real deal and then it would just end abruptly. I loved Chris. She was so intuitive and helpful. There was never any telling me what to do. “This is your birth, your baby, it is up to you” was what I heard all the time from her. Whatever I wanted to know she provided information and answers but ultimately she respected what I wanted. This baby came a few days before 40 weeks. It was a little unexpected because I had gone longer with the others.
We got home from a BBQ and I got the kids to bed and then we started a movie. I watched the movie on my birthing ball and had contractions throughout the night. I was still a little unsure because of the previous false alarms but it got intense so we called Chris and my mom over. Leah was 6 and Ben was almost 4 and I really wanted them to watch the birth. I know some might think that is weird but it was something I felt very strongly about. I had read them books about birth and we watched videos of birth. I prepared them for it and I felt like they could decide if they wanted to watch or not. My mom came to be in charge of the kids. If they did get a little freaked out or if they were bothering me she could take them downstairs or home. Chris arrived about 1 a.m. I was very vocal with this one. I remember it was raining and I opened my window and was moaning out the window. My neighbors probably were wondering what was going on at the PoVey’s??
I had planned on doing a water birth. Jared had filled up the tub, but when Chris asked if I wanted to get in I just thought I would be too hot. I was hot and and didn’t want to be more hot. I also was hanging on Jared for each contraction and just wasn’t sure about what I wanted. My mom woke up the kids, Ben said, “Wake me up when the baby’s here” and went back to bed. Leah was so excited; she was so sweet and helpful. She was my little doula. She encouraged me when things got tough. She said, “You are doing so good mom, our baby is almost here.” She brought me water. It ended up being one of my best memories of that birth, was her being there. The pushing phase hit and I crawled up on my bed (which is funny because at the hospital that was the last place I wanted to go). I pushed for about ten minutes and we had another beautiful boy. He was 8 lbs. 14 oz. and 22” long. It was awesome! I held him for quite a while and he nursed right away. Leah got to cut the cord and Chris let us be with him for about an hour. Then she weighed him and checked him out. She showed us the placenta, which fascinated Leah. It was great just being together in my room. My mom took the kids home with her. Jared and I were home and I felt great!

Okay surprise #2! Another unexpected pregnancy test  We were going to have 4 kids?? We were excited. I was excited to see Chris again every month. This pregnancy was by far the easiest. I ran until my 7 month and I felt amazing. Then came the last month . . . I got a cough . . . then I got bronchitis and then it turned into pneumonia. It was awful! I didn’t sleep for an entire month. I coughed so hard I bruised my ribs and I was in so much pain. It got bad enough that I took some medicine. That might not seem like such a big deal to some, but it was to me. Taking medicine is something I don’t even do when I am not pregnant! I was desperate! The doctor gave me a breathing treatment and I took some codeine cough syrup so I could maybe get some sleep. I really hate to take drugs (and I swear this is why my baby girl has some immune issues but that is another story) I know that sometimes you have got to do what you got to do but it never sat well with me. Anyway, the medicine was not helping so I stopped taking it.
Our baby was due at the beginning of August. When it gat close for me to have this baby, Chris was worried about me. She said I might need to consider delivering at the hospital. She wasn’t worried about the baby, but she worried if I would have enough oxygen and strength to have a safe labor and delivery. I love my midwife. She is so great and smart. I love that she knows when things are out of her hands. There is a time and a place for hospitals and interventions. So after she told me this news, I was determined more than ever to get rid of this cough and get better. I called a lady that does hypnotizing. That is not what she called it, but that is what I felt like it was. She did these relaxation techniques with me over the phone. Basically, we were visually and mentally getting this pneumonia out of my body. I did this Friday and Saturday and felt like I had my energy back Sunday. Whatever voodoo she did, it worked! I still had an awful cough but I was getting sleep and getting some energy back and was ready to have this baby. Monday, was August 9th and I really wanted to have her birthday be 8-9-10. All day there was no action but a lot of pressure. We had a BBQ up in Morgan and I wore my swimsuit to scare everyone. I had a lot of pressure but not one contraction at the party. I was sad! Her cool birthday was not going to happen. About 9 p.m. we got in the car to come home. The minute I got in the car, the contractions started. The drive home they were about every 10 minutes and then they got to be every 5. Maybe we could pull the birthday off after all?? We got home and got the kids to bed. I told them tonight might be the night. Ben, again said, to wake him up when the baby was here. Isaac wanted to watch but he fell asleep. Leah was up and ready to help. Things were happening fast. This time I had a little team come over. My mom and my good friend Naomi were going to help with the kids and my sister was going to take some video. Chris came over and got things set up.
Birth is a very spiritual thing for me. I am not at all saying if you don’t have a natural birth it is not spiritual. I know for most women it is. Even with my first birth, I had a very spiritual experience where I felt close to Christ and I knew that he knew I could do this. He made my body to have children. He did not make women capable of giving birth and then sometime in the 1940’s or whenever they started making birth a “medical” process rather that a “natural” process change a woman’s body and make it incapable. We were made to do this. It is not easy and that is where I turn to our Savior and I picture him. I also, thought of women all over the world, ancestors, every woman out there doing this and it gave me strength and confidence. There is a lot of symbolism with birth and my beliefs that I won’t get into but it makes me proud to be a woman!
This labor was the most “in tune” I had been in. I felt every single stage of labor. I knew where my baby was. When she was turning. When she was moving down. Everything. It was awesome. It was definitely my most quiet labor and I was in my own little world. I didn’t know who was around me. I couldn’t hear anything. It was a neat feeling! I labored a lot on my left side lying on my bed. When it was time to push, I got up and got in the pool and pushed her out in about 5 pushes. She had the cord wrapped around her neck, which my midwife says is a great place for it to be! She was perfect and I held her on my chest. She hardly made a sound. Isaac and Leah watched their sister be born! It was a great birth. Oh and she barely missed her cool birthday. She was born at 12:20 a.m. Bummer! She weighed 8 lbs. and was 21” long.

We had four kids. What was one more right? I was done having kids. We had two boys, two girls. Our family was complete. I started training for my marathon, so I could finally be part of the “Marathon Club.” Jared and I were excited to maybe start planning some trips we wanted to take, etc. Well, we had one more up there wanting to join our crazy clan. Good thing I love being pregnant  I kept running. I would be about 12 weeks along when I did my marathon. I injured my knee playing indoor soccer when I was about 10 weeks and so my marathon was a bummer. My knee could only handle about 13 miles of running so I had to quit. I did the Ragnar Race a few months later. I was slow but I did it. I had a great pregnancy. I stayed active and was healthy. I had my ultrasound when I was about 22 weeks. When I went to see Chris, she said she got the results from the ultrasound and that I had placenta previa, which is when your placenta covers your cervix. She went on to explain that there was a chance I would have to have a c-section. I was really sad. I had enjoyed home birth so much. Again, I was so grateful for a great midwife who knew her “stuff.” She said the placenta is unlikely to move. However, sometimes the baby’s head, as it grows can move it out of the way. So I continued to have a great pregnancy and I had to wait, wait until the delivery was closer and we could confirm where the placenta was. I did start to research C-sections and prepare myself for it. I was nervous, but maybe humbled and grateful for this medical intervention. It does save lives. This is when women used to die and bleed out. This is when intervention is needed. I learned all I could, but I still felt like things were going to work out and so did my midwife. I did some more crazy visualization. No laughing, but every night I would visualize my placenta moving a little higher. I talked to my placenta. I told it to move out of the way! Pregnant women do crazy things! I went again at 38 weeks to see where it was . . . it moved! I really should stop calling this visualizing stuff crazy because it kept working. Anyway, I was excited. At the same time I was kind of disappointed. Even though I know a natural vaginal birth is the best thing for my baby, I was kind of excited to avoid the pain! Okay, I had to refocus and get in my right state of mind and gear up for this birth. I was very unsure of my dates on this one. Between the ultrasound guesses and my guesses, he was due around Christmas. December was a rocky one. I had sick kids. I had false labor again where the midwife and doula were called, pool was filled and ready to go and then it just ended. UUUGGGHH!! I got extremely ill with the stomach flu. It sent me into labor a few times. I was done. I called my midwife and said I couldn’t do this anymore. I needed to go to the hospital and get started. Luckily her and my husband kindly talked me out of it. She said, “You can go and have your baby and try to take care of your baby while you are sick” or “You can hang in there, get better, and have a baby and take care of him while you are healthy.” I stuck it out, but man the stomach flu, dry heaving, diarrhea, mixed in with contractions-that was rough! Anyway, I got through that ordeal and was glad I let my baby continue to grow!
I thought, no, I KNEW this baby was coming early. I had the false labor, constant contractions, lots of pressure, little bit of water leaking out- he was coming soon! We were going to have a Christmas baby . . . so much for intuition. Christmas came and went. In fact, I swear he crawled up higher. I lost the pressure, contractions stopped, nothing! Well, I guess we will shoot for a New Year’s baby. New Year’s came and went also. I guess he had some things to finish up in there!
I have never been a planner. Even with my births, I know what I want and with each one I have learned more and more. Still, I haven’t been the best about writing down a birth plan or having my house spick and span when the time is near. I have just let things happen. This pregnancy, I decided I was going to have a doula, maybe do candles, have pictures, do my hair cute, etc. I don’t know if it is because we are for sure done having kids (snip, snip) or what but I was going all out. Well, the weekend came and I was sad my baby had not come. My kids were going back to school. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have a baby yet. Friday, my husband decided to throw his back out. It was a bad one. Like crawling- on- the –floor- to- the- bathroom-bad back . “Okay baby not a good time to come now. I need take care of your dad.” Well, at least Jared could walk by Sunday, but still he was useless. And I need him. I practically hang all 200 lbs. of my body on his neck through contractions. Well, January 7th at about 5 a.m. Monday morning- bam! Contraction hits hard. These contractions were not messing around. Forget a warm up; I guess we did that all December. They are 2 minutes apart from the get go. Jared calls Anjie- my doula, my friend- Naomi, and my mom and says to come over. Things were moving quickly. Then he called Chris. She is in Logan at another birth. This is definitely not going as planned  The way things were going we knew it was happening soon. I admit, I freaked out a little bit. With my other births I always felt like things were good, I could have done them on my own if I had too. However, this one I was worried I might need a little assistance, because I knew he was going to be big. Chris called her student midwife, Tina who I had met before and I really liked. I felt good about her coming but it was all a bit of a whirl wind. Not the most in control I have been. So much for having cute hair  Leah was filling up the pool and being a great helper. Jared was trying, but still pretty useless. I kept thinking, “Really baby boy I have been expecting and ready for you all month and you are picking now??” I had labored walking around leaning on my kitchen table and then I knew I was in transition. No midwife here yet. I was nervous. I went and lay on my bed and closed my legs. That hurt. That is not what my body wanted to do. But I really wanted Tina to be there. Tina walked in at 6:30 I was relieved but in a lot of pain. She started setting things up around me, because I was showing signs of pushing. I had a break in contractions and without saying anything to anyone I walked in to the front room and got in the pool. I got on my knees and rested my arms on the pool. I had never delivered in that position but that is what my body was telling me to do. My water broke immediately and three pushes later, and a little assistance from the midwife with his head, I had my baby boy! This guy came out chomping on his hand- he was ready to go to town. I held him on my chest. The cord pulsed for a long time on this one. We hung out in the water for a while. Then I showered off and nursed him in my bed. Later we weighed him- 10 lbs. 6 oz. 23” long. He was a husky little guy.
There you have it five beautiful children. Five beautiful births. Not perfect but perfect for each one. I learned a little more with each one I had. I was blessed with a little intuition from the beginning that I knew I could do this. Women need to know they can deliver babies. They are made to do it. Birth is a natural process. They need to listen to their bodies and not depend on doctors. Most doctors have never seen natural child birth and are not trained to do natural childbirth. They are trained for the medical interventions, which is great when we need them. Except, 90% of births are uncomplicated and when left alone we don’t need them. Empowerment is a great thing. So trust yourself, do your research. Do what is best for you and your baby.

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